Fantastic Shorts Competition at the /slash Filmfestival 2016

A short note on all the short films at the /slash Filmfestival 2016 that were part of the Fantastic Shorts Competition. The winner was Ariane Louis-Seize Plouffe for her short Wild Skin.
Seen on: 25.9.2016
[Reviews by cornholio.]

Night of the Slasher (2015)
Writer and Director: Shant Hamassian
Cast: Lily Berlina, Scott Javore, Adam Lesar

A young woman (Lily Berlina) working her way through all the horror movie sins. You probably know the story. Or do you?
At first I was really taken aback by the male gaze that dominates the film. Once it becomes clear where the story is going, it gets quite brilliant and very entertaining (personal highlight: the Spock mask), though it remains fomed by the male gaze. Still – I enjoyed it a lot.

Eat My Shit (2015)
Writer and Director: Eduardo Casanova
Cast: Ana Polvorosa, Itziar Castro

After Samantha (Ana Polvorosa) posts a selfie, it’s censored on instagram – the latest of a long series of humiliations since she was born with her asshole where her mouth should be.
Well. The idea for this short was okay, but I’m simply not into fecal humor – and with a set-up like this that’s where  it’s bound to go. I did like the instagram censoring though.

The Procedure (2016)
Writer and Director: Calvin Reeder
Cast: Christian Palmer, Frank Mosley

A man (Christian Palmer) finds himself captured and bound in a spotless room. It’s clear that he is on the receiving end of a strange experiment.
The Procedure was much like Eat My Shit in both its content and in my reaction to it. It’s a one trick pony, and that pony isn’t exactly great, but it’s okay.

Natsu no gero wa fuyu no sakana [Summer’s Puke Is Winter’s Delight] (2016)
Director: Sawako Kabuki

It’s basically a music video, revolving around the issue of eating disorders.
I thought it was hypnotic and weird, but I had trouble getting into it at first. But after that first adjusting period, I was drawn in and I thought that it nailed the core of the issue. I liked it.

Criaturitas [Tiny Creatures] (2016)
Director: Ignasi Lopez Fabregas

Sweets against fruits in a battle to the death.
It was funny and very well animated and surprisingly gorey (the fruit brain…). The ending was pretty hard, but in a very entertaining way. Certainly one of the stronger entries.

Heaven (2016)
Director: Isamu Hirabayashi

Basically a documenary about insects, only that there’s no narration or information and barely any connection between the images, Heaven becomes an entry in the competition for most boring film I’ve ever seen. It’s 13 minutes of bugs and heavy breathing and I felt like it was trying to kill me with boredom.

Conibear (2014)
Writer and Director: Jay Bulckaert, Pablo Saravanja
Cast: Pablo Saravanja

A trapper (Pablo Saravanja) on the hunt in the cold, cold north.
Conibear overstayed its welcome, but it had definite potential. I especially liked the use of slow motion. But it simply could not build up the tension it would have needed to really work – maybe because I felt so deflated after having seen Heaven.

La Voce [The Voice aka Voiceless] (2015)
Director: David Uloth
Writer: Chloé Cinq-Mars
Cast: Miro Lacasse, Catherine Ruel, Julie De Lafrenière, Harry Standjofski, Marc Labrèche

A butcher with a love for opera falls in love with a stripper. But she breaks his heart and takes his voice with her.
La Voce is built on a funny idea, and I really loved its ending. I also loved that we got a fat woman as a sex symbol, which is awesome, although that the entire thing revolved around a man falling in love with a sex worker and how he gets torn up because she doesn’t love him back, which is less awesome. But it did have a great dance scene to make up for that.

Arcana (2015)
Director: Jerónimo Rocha
Cast: Iris Cayatte

A dungeon with a lonely inhabitant, a witch (Iris Cayatte). But maybe she can escape?
Arcana was creepy and moody and a little bit disgusting. It looked pretty cool and was well-made, but I’m not sure if I liked that I didn’t know if I should be rooting for the witch’s escape. Probably yes, though.

Gwilliam (2015)
Director: Brian Lonano
Writer: Brian Lonano, Kevin Lonano, Victoria S. Cook
Cast: William Tokarsky, Paul Painter, Wanda Morganstern

He (William Tokarsky) was just released from prison and he knows that he wants a good time. But he didn’t expect what a good time he would be having.
Gwilliam is a strange, strange film. At first I was pretty disgusted and not much more, but suddenly, somehow, the film took a sweet turn and became actually romantic. I’m not sure how that happened, but it worked.

Okaasan ni naisho [Don’t Tell Mom] (2015)
Director: Sawako Kabuki

Another animated music video, this time revolving around sex.
After Summer’s Puke Is Winter’s Delight, I thought I would be getting into this one as well, but it wasn’t to be. Instead I found it simply exhausting and stupid with weird and headdesk-worthy notions about sex (what was up with that bike?).

Squame (2015)
Writer and Director: Nicolas Brault

Squame doesn’t really have a plot, but it does have an interesting aesthetic that translates to engaging images. It just wasn’t enough for me to fill a film, not even a short one.

La peau sauvage [Wild Skin] (2016)
Writer and Director: Ariane Louis-Seize Plouffe
Cast: Marilyn Castonguay, Alexis Lefebvre

A shy, reclusive woman (Marilyn Castonguay) finds a small snake in her apartment, the beginning of a transformtion.
Wild Skin looked great – and that despite the fact that I’m not into brown usually – and it has an interesting story. Castonguay is great in the lead role and Ariane Louis-Seize Plouffe manages to build a beautiful atmosphere. Also, I’m willing to take interior decoration tips here.

Warau kumo [The Laughing Spider] (2016)
Director: Keiichi Tanaami

I’m not sure if The Laughing Spider told a story, but it would have helped if it had/I had been sure. Visually, it wasn’t uninteresting, but it was mostly exhausting and boring.

Voice of the Apocalypse (2015)
Director: Lu Ke

A musical at the end of times.
I absolutely fell in love with Voice of the Apocalypse. Although I’m not unhappy that Wild Skin won the contest, if it had been up to just me, it would have been this short. It was funny and weird and the music was so great, I just wish I could sing along (or find it now). Perfect.

Lost (2016)
Director: Perica Antov

A dispatch from a lonely man, maybe the last?
Lost was okay. I wish I could give the Austrian entry better comments, but it just didn’t work for me. At least it was short.

Summarizing: good mix, though not all created equal. My personal faves: Night of the Slasher, Summer’s Puke Is Winter’s Delight, Criaturitas, La voce, Arcana, Gwilliam, Wild Skin and Voice of Apocalypse.

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